#1
Ok, fairly simple question, but I wanted some input into it. I'm learning several instruments at the minute (guitar [rhythm and lead], bass, vocals and piano [hopefully to move onto organ in the future]), how much time should I spend practising each of them? I have other hobbies as well, so I would quite like to do work on them as well, plus I don't want to spend so much time on music that I begin to waste my time.
Advice would be very helpful. Thank-you.
#2
That's something you're going to have to figure out for yourself. I'm currently taking jazz guitar lessons and piano lessons. I've only been playing piano for a few months, but have been playing guitar a lot longer. I started off playing piano for 30 minutes a night, but discovered that wasn't enough. I bumped it up to 45 minutes, then a few days later went to an hour. I work full time, so you can imagine what my schedule is like. For me, an hour a night on the piano works out pretty good. It allows me enough time to make progress for my weekly lessons. I still spend about 2 hours a night on guitar - I also teach guitar on the weekend. Figure out how much disposable time you have, then divide it up amongst the various instruments. If you come to realize you're not making reasonable progress, you'll have to adjust your schedule around.
#3
I don't want to spend so much time on music that I begin to waste my time.


Well if you keep moving on and looking at new things you will never be wasting your time, theres always more to learn and never enough time to master it all. That is unless you aspire only to be able to play simple open chord tunes, of course.

How much to practice is a hard question and it really just depends on what you are willing and able to put into it. Just know that you will get out in skill what you put in in good practising.

If you aspire to be a competent lead and rhythm guitarist then you should aim to put in at very least 1 hour a day every day and upto 3 - 4 hours if you ever have enough time. I personally find it hard to sit down and practice (often go days without touching my axe), but when I do go for a good practice session I can go for a few hours - I always mean to practice much more regularly though.

(the next sentence is hypocrisy as i aint practising what im preachin here)

It is better to practice an hour a day everyday than it is to practice for four hours once or twice a week. It also important to keep in mind that just noodling around isnt really practising - gotta make sure you practice properly and spend the time meaningfully - half an hour of focused practising is more productive than five hours of absent minded strumming in front of the telly.
And if you did spend those five hours as focused as you should you would burn yourself out pretty quick, mentally and physically - make sure you leave yourself time for some fun jamming as well as focused practice.

As far as learning other instruments I dont really know. If you are an organised type of person (unlike myself) you could draw a timtable chart of your free time and divide it up equally for each instrument, then divide the time on each instrument into different areas of learning and practice (ear training, chords, songs, techniques, arpeggios etc.). I never stick to timetables I make, but Im sure id be a much better musician if I did.

As a mediocre bassist Ill offend all the other bassists in this thread by saying that I managed to become not bad without much practice - I found many of the skills to e transferable from guitar. Every now and again Id reach for the bass instead of the guitar and try learn a certain song or riff till my fingers got used to the bigger strings.

It took me a lot longer to get used to the finger playing (ie not using a plectrum) because I never practised it but because I perform the bass on a Sunday at church (theres already a guitarist so I was required on bass) I found that using the fingers sounded better for some things and for a while I would play like half a song with the fingers before they became tired and sore and my timing went, but after a few months of occasionally using the fingers without even thinking about it Ive switched to using fingers exclusively - my point being that much of the skills of bass are transferable and the ones that arent didnt take too much practice to get used to in my experience (my justification for not putting in anywhere near as much practice on bass as I do on guitar). To a skilled bassist I probably look like a 'guitarist who plays bass' in some ways though.

I havent tried to learn a keyboard instrument but if I were you I would make sure to have both the keyboard and the guitar at hand if Im ever learning about music theory or sight reading type stuff. When learning about stuff that applies to music in general make sure you learn how to apply it to all yer instruments so that you dont come back at some point to re-learn a certain concept on the guitar or whatever.

So yeah, try maximise your learning. For example practising singing a song while practising playing the chords on guitar or keys. Get the most of the time you put in.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#4
Try to put in at least 20 minutes of serious, focused practice for each instrument, every single day. 20 minutes of serious, focused practice will be better than 1 or more hours of "just playing". Be aware that there is a difference between practicing your instrument, and playing.
#5
It would be much. much easier if you pick one and learn it. Learning two instruments at the same time is one thing, but incorporating three instruments in your brain at the same time will be overwhelming.

I believe vocals will come along - I'm a horrible singer, but that would probably be something you could do along with the guitar or piano.

Some people spend multiple hour practicing their instrument, never mind 3 of them. Its better to be great at one thing and lousy at two others than to be just okay at three instruments.
#6
Isnt it better to be competent at three rather than outstanding at one and bad at the others? There aint no right or wrong answer to that imo, but I wouldnt discourage him from learning hat he wants to - As you say singing could be done with piano and guitar and in my experience you can become a competent bassist while mainly focusing on guitar
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#7
4 instruments? Nice.

Lead guitar is the same as rhythm, don't get me started on that bull-shit dawg.

Anyways, you need to do like 40 hours of work in 24 hours. Good ****ing luck with that boi.

Best thing to do is an hour or two on each, some music theory, nice breaks... time alone with your beautiful GF when all that tension builds up... and repeat.

Ideally you should put 2.5 hours in per instruments and 2 hours of music theory a day. I'd try and do 3h/each a day but we're only human.
#8
To all of the people suggesting hours and practice for each instrument, do you realistically think he's going to be able to do that? I would say realistically he'll do about 20-30 minutes for each instrument in terms of focused practiced, which I think is enough to at least make some progress over time on each instrument.
#9
Quote by zincabopataurio
To all of the people suggesting hours and practice for each instrument, do you realistically think he's going to be able to do that? I would say realistically he'll do about 20-30 minutes for each instrument in terms of focused practiced, which I think is enough to at least make some progress over time on each instrument.


I do 10 hours a day while doing a degree. 10 hours can be anything though, composing/refining my uber amazing technique...etc.

It can be done, but not for the weak.
#10
I'm learning both guitars and piano, and because I'm a lot better at the guitar than the piano, I find myself leaning towards playing the guitar more.

I tend to practice whatever I feel like doing. For example, I've recently been spending more time practicing on the piano than I do on the guitar (Noodling and playing songs aren't practicing, as mentioned.), but yesterday I just spent about 1 or 2 hours on the solo for Under The Glass Moon while watching TV.

It's no longer fun if it becomes a routine. Change it up, IMO. Do whatever you want.
#11
Quote by ElitiusMaxim
I do 10 hours a day while doing a degree. 10 hours can be anything though, composing/refining my uber amazing technique...etc.

It can be done, but not for the weak.

Some people can do that, most people can't

I'm talking about focused, serious practice though (focusing on technique, making sure everything is perfect). The time for everything else, for me at least, can be very flexible, since I usually write music or brush up on any theory on my free time when I'm not playing guitar.

I'm curious, what degree are you working on (if you don't mind me asking)? I'm a bit worried about what may happen with my guitar time when I get into uni.....and then work
#12
Quote by zincabopataurio
Some people can do that, most people can't

I'm talking about focused, serious practice though (focusing on technique, making sure everything is perfect). The time for everything else, for me at least, can be very flexible, since I usually write music or brush up on any theory on my free time when I'm not playing guitar.

I'm curious, what degree are you working on (if you don't mind me asking)? I'm a bit worried about what may happen with my guitar time when I get into uni.....and then work


Physics bullshit.

MY ADVICE:

1) Get a bunch of friends to help lighten the load.
- I almost quit guitar in first year because I was Mr.GottaDoItAllMyselfBecauseIThinkImTheShitWhenImNot.
I got so ****ed up bad...

2) Study, take breaks
lets be honest, I exaggerate sometimes. There are days when I play like 5 minutes because its exam time.

3) You'll play more when you play at school and all your friends see you as God and your guitar is a chick magnet to your dick
BUT because you're doing a degree that means there are probably no good looking women, but hey-- when you get out of your degree and you're making good $$$ then you pick the spouse you want.

4) Oh shit you're trying to do work AND a degree?

Bad idea. Work is really bad and I actually hurt my marks in second year because they kept demanding hours that were obscene and I couldn't say no without major guilt trips/getting fired

Playing guitar is way different to a job
ex:
- Spend an hour on HW/stuff
- Spend 30 minutes noodling on guitar and de-expanding your mind
- Spent an hour on HW/again
- Do other stuff
- Come back and write a killer riff
- Do more HW
- Get 100%
- Show mom that you really were worth it


MOST IMPORTANTLY IS POINT #1
There is no point to doing work (don't plagiarize) when you don't have to. Minimal work. Think guitar, as you know you play as light as possible to get good speed. Treat your post-secondary like that. Do the minimal work you can to get maximum mark. There is no point spending 1 hour getting 90% and then 10 hours getting 100%. Just stick with the 90 (if you're GPA based) unless you want to be an astronaut.
Oh, and exercise.
EDIT: Of course you have to put in the studying time/lab time/whatever to do great in those components, but there's certain pieces of work that you should do everything you can to get it done as fast as possible.
And if you **** up and get a 60 or 70 once in a while, means nothing in the long term trust me.
Last edited by ElitiusMaxim at Jun 25, 2011,
#13
Quote by Hydra150
Well if you keep moving on and looking at new things you will never be wasting your time, theres always more to learn and never enough time to master it all. That is unless you aspire only to be able to play simple open chord tunes, of course.


What I meant by that was, You can only spend so much time on something in a day and still make progress, after a point you stop making progress. I don't want to spend time 'practising' if I'm not going to be making progress in that time.

Quote by ElitiusMaxim
I do 10 hours a day while doing a degree. 10 hours can be anything though, composing/refining my uber amazing technique...etc.

It can be done, but not for the weak.


Holy shit man, how can you do that?
During term time, I would usually spend about 8 hours in uni (including travel time), then an hour or 2 in the evenings doing work/studying/making notes. Then 8 hours of sleep, and it takes me about an hour in the morning to get ready. Need to eat as well. Where do you find the time to practice 10 hours a day?


Thanks to every one. I'll take the advice on board and probably end up working out a time table on how to spend my time.
Another quick question though. Would I be better to spend longer on one instrument every day, and then practice a different instrument every day, or spend less time individually, but practice all of them every day?
#14
Quote by robhc
What I meant by that was, You can only spend so much time on something in a day and still make progress, after a point you stop making progress. I don't want to spend time 'practising' if I'm not going to be making progress in that time.


Yeah I understand you, but if you do spend a long time practising then you should make sure you look at several areas to improve, cuz spending all day on one aspect as you said may be counter productive.

My reccomendation for you is to pick a main instrument (for me its guitar) and practice that almost everyday, some days brushing up on bass or piano instead and when youve got enough time in the day (weekends or whatever) then you should divide the time to more than one instrument. Doing too much, as that ElitistMaximus guy is suggesting, will just burn you out and you will probably give up after day two.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#15
Quote by Hydra150
Yeah I understand you, but if you do spend a long time practising then you should make sure you look at several areas to improve, cuz spending all day on one aspect as you said may be counter productive.

My reccomendation for you is to pick a main instrument (for me its guitar) and practice that almost everyday, some days brushing up on bass or piano instead and when youve got enough time in the day (weekends or whatever) then you should divide the time to more than one instrument. Doing too much, as that ElitistMaximus guy is suggesting, will just burn you out and you will probably give up after day two.


Ok, thanks, I'll do that I think.

One more question (last one, I promise). I want to record myself, so I can listen and hear mistakes easier. Would I be better off working on a song and recording myself working on that, or should I record myself doing exercises?
#16
why not both?
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do